Small Business Consultant Calgary – Eight questions to ask before starting a consulting career Defining your niche, setting up your fees, and expanding your network will set your consulting up for success.
Companies of all sizes have one thing in common: they all started as small businesses. It’s a corner for people who start from the ground up. Learn how to hire first, handle everything administratively, and set yourself up for success.
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Being a consultant brings many benefits; There is flexibility in deciding where and when you work, the tasks you take on and what you pay for your time. There are minimal costs to starting a consulting business, and it’s easy to scale up and down to accommodate your lifestyle and finances.
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Despite these benefits, there are important things to consider to give your consultation the best chance of success. Some questions to ask yourself before starting a consulting business include how to define your niche, set your fees, and grow your client base.
In general, the best advisors are experts in their field – those with a long career or a high level of success in a particular area. Before starting a consulting business, it’s important to assess how your experience will appear to potential clients. How does my experience differentiate me from my competition?
The goal should be to find a niche in your consulting market, demonstrating how your history—personal and professional—translates to a unique value proposition for clients.
Zaki Hussain – CEO and founder of the membership company, which manages and executes marketing campaigns for clients – talks about how big-picture thinking and a holistic approach to marketing sets the company apart from its competitors.
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“We plan to make Clutch development a communications priority,” Hussain says. “We’ve partnered with our clients for a long time. Instead of delivering ads, landing pages or campaigns, we consult with clients on how to best monetize their talent, budget and teams, including how to hire and strategize for sustainable growth.
Counseling in the field requires additional skills that can be developed by developing additional training. As a consultant, you may be asked to speak publicly, coach groups of people, identify problems in struggling groups, analyze and present information, and provide effective feedback.
“[Initially] I had a lot of reluctance to start a business,” Hussain says of her marketing company. “He wanted not just marketing experience, but sales, accounting and other skills that were beyond my knowledge.”
Although intimidating at first, your ability to perform these tasks will be a critical factor in your success as a consultant (regardless of your specialty), and courses in public speaking, reporting, and management can go a long way in improving client relationships. Results
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There are business aspects to running your own consulting business, such as writing a business plan, managing finances, and structuring and balancing operations. It will help you develop skills in these areas and understand the legal and tax requirements that apply to you.
Not sure whether you should choose a sole proprietorship or an LLC business structure? Read our comparison guide here.
Industries that typically hire consultants include finance, technology, human resources, marketing, and business management. (Find details on industries that commonly use consultants.)
Regardless of your career path, consulting is a great way to find work if you can identify ways that other companies or professionals can benefit from your help and expertise.
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As a consultant, your price point is a key factor in attracting and retaining clients. If your rates are too high, you may lose customers; If you are too low, potential customers may become suspicious and question your legitimacy.
It’s always a good idea to audit your competitors to get an idea of the services they offer and the fees they charge. Ideally, keep your price in the same range as your competitors, and find a way to differentiate yourself from their offerings.
This is a fixed rate based on your experience, and customers only pay for the time they spend on their account. It’s important to track your time using this approach, and clients will have questions if the job takes longer than originally promised.
At this rate, clients are paid according to the work completed on a project-wise basis. While this transparency often appeals to clients, it doesn’t give you much flexibility when emergencies arise and projects take longer than expected.
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This payment plan is ideal when you provide services to a client on an ongoing basis, such as managing their website or managing bookkeeping. This means that you will be paid a fixed salary over a long period of time without any taxes, benefits or employee contributions, just like a regular employee.
Extra tip: Introductory discounts or add-ons are popular strategies for attracting customers, while rewarding longevity is key to keeping your customer book strong.
Just as you establish fair and consistent price points for your services, you need to set up your services in a way that’s clear and easy for clients to adhere to—no matter how committed you are to a project.
“Scope creep” means that you can only see the implementation of the strategy if you decide to create a plan, or you can only monitor its implementation if you pay to provide a plan. Be as clear as possible in explaining the scope of your services and the costs involved in developing this work with add-ons.
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Extra tip: It’s important to know when you don’t want to do the wrong thing. As a consultant, your reputation and track record of success are critical to the health of your business. It’s a good idea to assess the potential risks of each client’s project, and sometimes it’s best to turn down the project if you’re blowing your mind or if the client has unrealistic expectations.
Depending on your vision and how much you want to grow your practice, you can run your practice under your personal name or a fictitious, business name. If you are doing business under your own name, you can start as a sole proprietor. This business structure does not require any registration with the state or central governments and is an easy way to set up a business. Damage? All income and losses must be reported on your personal tax return.
One option is to form a limited liability company (LLC), in which your company is taxed as a separate entity and your personal assets are not at risk. For more information on the various licenses and registrations you need to start your own business, check out our nine-step guide to getting started.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to attract and retain clients when building a consulting business. When a customer shares their positive experience with others, it’s a surefire way to grow your customer base. However, the opposite is true—if someone has a negative experience, they will inform others in their network and your reputation will suffer.
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A great way to encourage people to share positive experiences is to provide incentives for them to do so. For example, if an existing customer successfully refers a new customer to you, you can offer them compensation, a free service, or a gift package.
Networking is important, and attending industry events – even hosting your own – is a great way to make new connections and meet new clients. Participating in online communities, speaking at relevant conferences and sharing advice on social media can go a long way in building your skills. Also, running campaigns on social platforms like LinkedIn or capturing emails from people who visit your website can help fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads.
Extra tip: Designing the buyer’s journey helps you better understand customer needs and mindsets. Identifying your target audience, their various pain points, and their unique customer journeys will ensure you approach these prospects with empathy – and appropriate solutions to their problems.
A contract is a legal agreement between you as a consultant and your clients. It should state the work you agree to complete and the amount your client agrees to pay. Although contract requirements vary between states, contract law is governed by state law, so all contracts:
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Regardless of your industry or previous experience, starting a consulting business can bring unexpected challenges as you begin working with clients and expanding your services. Arming yourself with knowledge will help you handle these contingencies when they arise, and surrounding yourself with a supportive network of professionals is key to driving success and maintaining your foundation.
Collaborative solutions like the best environment to start a consulting business. With a global network of members, it opens a door to a wealth of potential customers. In addition, frequent social events are an easy way to meet new colleagues. However, more than this, it surrounds you with a mix of entrepreneurs, creatives, emerging groups and established companies.